What are Web Browsers, and How does it work?

Web browsers are software programs that run on a computer or mobile device that can find and access websites on the Internet to display their web pages. They’re also known as Internet browsers or simply browsers.

How Can a Web Browser Locate a Website?

The user’s computer or device must first connect via cable or Wi-Fi to a device called a modem to access the Internet, which is a worldwide network of all existing websites on the planet. To go to a particular site, the user must know its web address or Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

The user can either type the URL directly into the browsers address bar or search for a link in its default search engine, like Google, for example. Once a connection with the website is established, the browser can then access its web pages, the first one being the website’s homepage.

How Does a Web Browser Access a Website?

For browsers to send or receive data, it communicates with the website via standard protocol codes that were programmed either in HyperText Markup Language (HTML) or Extensible Markup Language (XML). The browser will know what protocol standard to use from the website’s URL.

The most common protocol is the HyperText Transfer Protocol indicated as http:// at the beginning of the URL. Sometimes the site uses a more secure protocol called HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure seen as https://, which uses data encryption.

What follows in the URL is the unique identifier of the site known as the domain name that points to its homepage. With the correct protocol, the browser can translate these codes into a human-readable format that the user can understand so that he can interact with the website to “browse” or access its content.

Modern Web Browsers

Web Browsers have grown more powerful over the years and can now handle a multitude of file formats, including all sorts of image, video and music formats. They can also handle online gaming, content or live video streaming, video conferencing or chatting, the list goes on and on.
Tabs are now standard, which allows you to access multiple pages from multiple websites that you can open simultaneously.

Each tab can function as a unique browser window with its settings. They also allow the integration of add-ons or extensions, which enhance the browser’s functionality and capabilities even more. They improve the user’s web browsing experience and productivity. Some even allow the user to customize the look of the browser.

The Top Web Browsers

  • Chrome - Google Chrome is the most popular and widely used browser in the world.
  • Firefox - Mozilla’s browser has been around for a while, and they’ve released its latest version called Firefox Quantum with a performance to rival Chrome.
  • Edge - Edge is the successor to Microsoft’s now-defunct Internet Explorer.
  • Safari -  Safari is the in-house browser of Apple for its Mac computers and other mobile devices like the i-phone.
  • Opera - Opera is a freeware browser from Opera Software that has a significant following. 
Emil S.

Emil is a Data & Design Specialist with a degree in BS Information System, specializes in Admin Support & Creative Design.

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